Congress May Soon Know How Much Federal Agencies Are Wasting

July 14, 2021 | Dan Lips

Fiscal conservatives haven’t had much to cheer on Capitol Hill in recent years. Even before the pandemic, Republican and Democratic leaders alike embraced a long-term path of deficit spending. The federal government’s debt is projected to grow faster than the nation’s economy, and there appears to be little political will to address the government’s structural fiscal
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The GAO at 100

July 14, 2021 | Dan Lips

The Government Accountability Office will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Wednesday; members of Congress are marking the occasion by boosting the watchdog agency’s budget and leveraging its nonpartisan oversight to deliver new taxpayer savings and improve governance. The House Appropriations Committee recently included $729 million for GAO in the new legislative branch spending bill, an increase of
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Before Investing More in R&D, We Must Secure Research Institutions From Outside Threats

May 26, 2021 | Dan Lips

There’s a chance for bipartisan legislation that would do so, but universities are resistant to potential restrictions on international students. The Senate is expected to pass the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 before breaking for the Memorial Day recess. The bipartisan package would authorize large funding increases for federal research and development. While the
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How To Fix Big Tech Without Big Government

May 17, 2021 | Zach Graves

Interoperability and open protocols can solve many of the problems of centralized cyber power without a heavy regulatory hand. Partisanship is at an all time high in Washington. But one issue policymakers on both sides seem to agree on is that something should be done to rein in the power of Big Tech. The American
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The App Store Competition Debate, Explained

April 26, 2021 | Zach Graves

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is hosting a hearing on mobile app store competition, featuring representatives from Apple and Google, as well as several app developers. The hearing is convened by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT), chair and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights. This hearing comes
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Biden’s Bungling Broadband Plan

April 5, 2021 | Joel Thayer

The Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan is riddled with issues, especially when it comes to a broadband deployment strategy. The plan seeks to impose 20th century command-and-control government mechanisms, akin to that of an electric grid, to a thriving and diverse internet ecosystem. Sadly, this plan will only leave consumers with less competition and higher
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Former Senator Carl Levin’s Defense of the Filibuster

March 29, 2021 | Dan Lips

President Joe Biden’s announcement that he is open to reforming the Senate’s filibuster has energized calls from progressives to eliminate the Senate minority’s most powerful procedural tactic to block legislation or force compromise. But in his new memoir, Getting to the Heart of the Matter: My 36 Years in the Senate, former Michigan Senator Carl Levin
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How Intra-Industry Conflicts Shape the Techlash

March 23, 2021 | Zach Graves

In 2013, The Economist coined the term “techlash,” predicting that CEOs of large tech firms would soon “join bankers and oilmen in public demonology.” In recent years, this has come to fruition. A majority of both Republicans and Democrats now support increased regulation of the tech industry. Additionally, half of Americans favor breaking up large firms like Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google.
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Stack neutrality: The holistic approach to net neutrality

March 16, 2021 | Joel Thayer

In 2003, Tim Wu first coined the phrase “net neutrality” in his paper “Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination.” He defined a neutral network as “internet that does not favor one application over another.” Today, the Federal Communications Commission faces a choice: either regulate the entire internet ecosystem as a public utility or do not. The agency
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Is Mandated Sideloading the Answer to App Store Deplatforming?

February 24, 2021 | Zach Graves

Smartphone app store policies have come into focus recently, following a series of recent conflicts between app makers and app store operators (principally Apple and Google). These include the removal of conservative-oriented social media platforms Parler and Gab, and the ensuing debate about balancing free speech and harmful content. There have also been numerous conflicts
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Returning Science and Technology Assessment to Congress

January 28, 2021 | Zach Graves

The shuttering of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in 1996, along with contemporaneous cuts to Congress’s policy capacity, created a deep institutional gap in the formation of science and technology (S&T) policy in the United States. A quarter century later, in the wake of a middling response to the COVID-19 pandemic, eroding military superiority,
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Questions for Biden’s Choice for Homeland Security

January 20, 2021 | Dan Lips

Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to be secretary of homeland security, brings significant experience to the role, having worked as deputy secretary during the Obama administration after serving as director of Citizenship and Immigration Services. But his confirmation to that office came while he was under inspector general investigation for allegations of preferential treatment
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Why GAO is Congress’s Best Investment

December 7, 2020 | Dan Lips

A new report examines the Congressional watchdog’s return-on-investment Facing a December 11 deadline to fund the federal government, Congress must finalize its annual spending bills or punt those negotiations into the new year. As lawmakers negotiate on Capitol Hill, taxpayers should keep an eye on one small line item in the federal budget.  Last year,
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Promote Competition Without Punishing Success

October 30, 2020 | Garrett Johnson

The “break-them-up” crowd does not grasp the negative consequences of sweeping anti-tech actions. With declining public sentiment about the tech industry and its impact on society, we’ve witnessed a growing chorus of advocates and policymakers arguing that now is the time for the federal government to take drastic action. Indeed, half of Americans now favor breaking up and more
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Avoiding the 1876 Scenario in November

October 8, 2020 | Garrett Johnson

By Garrett Johnson With five weeks to go, Americans from all walks of life and the different sides of the political spectrum should think ahead and prepare to do their part to help the country avoid an 1876 scenario. In 1876, the presidential election reopened the nation’s still healing wounds from the Civil War. The nation
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Potential Election Crisis Looms in November

October 8, 2020 | Sean Roberts

By Sean Roberts Viewers who watched the final moments of last week’s presidential debate got a glimpse of the potential crisis facing the United States in November. President Trump sharply criticized expanded voting-by-mail, warned that it will result in widespread fraud and mistakes, and committed to challenging results he deemed unfair. Former Vice President Joe
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Rebuilding Congress’ Policy Capacity

July 11, 2020 | Zach Graves

Click here to read the full article discussing efforts to modernize Congress. Earlier this month, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress held a hearing on improving staffing capacity and policy expertise in Congress. A major theme of this discussion was the historical loss of congressional staff capacity, and how to address it. To reverse this
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Congress Must Protect Federal Watchdogs

June 15, 2020 | Dan Lips

By Keith Ashdown, former Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee staff director  and Dan Lips, Director of Cyber and National Security Policy  President Trump recently fired several of the federal government’s most respected inspectors general–prompting a rare outcry of bipartisan criticism of the White House. Congressional Democrats were instinctively quick to condemn the president’s actions.
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The Techlash After COVID-19

April 30, 2020 | Garrett Johnson

The technology industry’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic has renewed appreciation for platforms and tools like Facebook and Zoom and given advocates a triumphant narrative to trumpet. But the “techlash” is far from over. COVID-19 and its long-term fallout may mark only the beginning, not the end, of heightened scrutiny of tech. The argument that the tech industry cannot
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We can do better than a parking lot for that temporary hospital

March 31, 2020 | Dan Lips

Creating temporary medical centers in a pandemic Co-authored by Jonathan Butcher, a senior policy analyst in the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation. Coming soon to a parking lot near you — a hospital. Federal and state officials are rushing to create temporary medical centers to help patients during the pandemic. The White
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Preparing for November’s election must be a national priority

March 31, 2020 | Dan Lips

This post was co-authored by Senior Internet Security Engineer, Sean Roberts. The coronavirus pandemic is testing our nation’s resolve and already disrupting our way of life. But we can’t afford to let it disrupt the November election. Six states have already postponed their primaries. More will likely follow in the weeks and months ahead. Read the rest
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Senator Tom Coburn’s Government Oversight Legacy

March 30, 2020 | Dan Lips

Former Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) passing this weekend marked a rare moment of unity in this highly partisan era with an outpouring of tributes from liberal Sens. like Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and conservative senators like Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) praising their former colleague. Why? Read the rest of the article at The Hill.
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States and Cities Could Use Billions of Unspent DHS Grants to #Protect2020

February 28, 2020 | Dan Lips

Federal and state officials recently told a Senate Committee that state and local governments need additional cybersecurity resources. Their testimony follows the gatherings of the nation’s state secretaries of state and election directors earlier this year in Washington, where cybersecurity and election integrity were a top focus. Congress is now considering legislation to create a
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Why taxpayers should support expanding the GAO

January 2, 2020 | Garrett Johnson

Congress approved $1.4 trillion in new spending last week to avoid another government shutdown over the holidays. Taxpayers are right to be wary whenever Congress pulls out its checkbook. But when it comes to one important line-item, budget hawks should be rooting for more funding, not less. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) serves as Congress’s
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American competitiveness requires a smarter Congress

November 26, 2019 | Garrett Johnson

Increasing science and technology advice would be an important first step Technological advancements are rapidly changing the American economy and workforce. At the same time, lawmakers increasingly appear to lack the capability to understand and respond effectively to this transformation. Flip phone-wielding lawmakers may have been cutting edge in the 1990s, but not in today’s Congress, which routinely grapples
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Beware Big Tech’s Embrace Of Regulation

November 25, 2019 | Aaron Ginn

Major players worried about upstarts displacing them are hurrying to cement their market dominance. Silicon Valley has entered a downward spiral of metaphorical mob-like violence, accelerated by broader societal ills and its own mistakes.  In an effort akin to taking a hammer to the problem, “breaking up Big Tech” has become one of the few
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What conservative voters really think about Silicon Valley

November 21, 2019 | Garrett Johnson

Conservative voters are (or should be) worried about being censored by social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Or so holds an enduring conservative narrative. But my organization, the Lincoln Network, conducted a national poll with Morning Consult to learn how Republican voters really feel about this issue. The results suggest a significant gap between the
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Should we rename the Office of Technology Assessment?

July 30, 2019 | Zach Graves

Over the past year or so, there’s been growing interest in bringing back the Office of Technology Assessment, a think tank within Congress that helped it understand complex science and technology issues from 1974 to 1995. Should OTA be brought back, it seems unlikely that policymakers will leave it unchanged (as they reexamine issues like the timeliness
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Republicans’ cognitive dissonance about Congress

July 25, 2019 | Zach Graves

The Supreme Court may soon finally start to rein in the sprawling administrative state, returning authority to make laws to Congress. Conservatives have dreamed of this restoration of the Constitution’s separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. But Congress clearly isn’t equipped to decide the hard questions that lawmakers have simply left to
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Applying the First Amendment to the Web Would Be a Nightmare

July 17, 2019 | Ryan Radia

Conservatives see the Constitution as their best defense online, but have they considered the broader consequences? Conservatives often accuse big tech companies of suppressing right-leaning voices and giving preferential treatment to left-wing commentators and news outlets. Google is the target of these latest allegations, which include a heavily edited video that seemingly depicts an executive suggesting
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